The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2020 13 Unfortunately, we are also all too familiar with just how often artifi- cial barriers or needless government bureaucracy gets in the way of those who want to serve. For example, Foreign Service officers are currently forced to take home leave on returning to the United States between assignments and often find themselves without any means of housing. This is simply unac- ceptable, especially when anyone who is serving or has served in the military can tell you we have hotels and vaca- tion rental homes on bases across the nation. That’s why I introduced legislation to expand military housing benefits to Foreign Service officers who temporar- ily lose their housing allowance while on mandatory home leave status. This bill would allow Foreign Service officers to rent a place to stay during that short transition period before or after over- seas deployment. The good news is that this bill was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, which passed the House of Representatives on Dec. 11 and was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2019. The bottom line is that we must continue working hard to ensure the safety and security of the United States through strong diplomacy, robust fund- ing for our military, unwavering support for our allies, and development of a comprehensive national security strat- egy founded on the idea that the world is safest when America is strongest. Thank you for all you do to promote peace and democracy around the globe. Your commitment to service before self continues to inspire me, and I look for- ward to working with you in the future to preserve our nation’s security for generations to come. n